ECU and Joyner Library present ECU Joyner Library North Carolina Literary Review   Rewriting Nature: Impacting Change in the Environment
  Eastern NC Literary Homecoming
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KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Ron Rash right color bar
  Ron Rash's family has lived in the southern Appalachian Mountains since the mid-1700s, and it is this region that is the primary focus of his writing. Rash grew up in Boiling Springs, NC, where he graduated from Gardner-Webb College (now University). He holds the John Parris Chair in Appalachian Studies at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee. Rash is the author of three poetry collections, including Eureka Mill (1998); four short story collections, including Burning Bright (2010); and four novels, including Serena (2008), which received the 2009 Sir Walter Raleigh Award in Fiction from the Historical Book Club of North Carolina and the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association. His first novel, One Foot in Eden (2002), received the Novella Festival Novel Award and Foreword Magazine’s Gold Medal in Literary Fiction. His second novel, Saints at the River (2004) was named Fiction Book of the Year by both the Southern Book Critics Circle and the Southeastern Booksellers Association.
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His fiction and poetry have also appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies, winning such awards as the prestigious O. Henry for short fiction and an NEA Poetry Fellowship. He has also received the James Still Award from the Fellowship of Southern Writers.

For more information about Ron Rash, read an interview with him in NCLR’s 2004 issue. See also an article on Rash’s novel Serena in NCLR 2010, and another article on Rash’s fiction and poetry is forthcoming in the 2011 issue’s special feature section on North Carolina Environmental Writing.

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Rob Amberg
Rob Amberg’s photographs and writing have been exhibited and published nationally and internationally. He lectures frequently and does regular assignment work for non-profit organizations, philanthropic foundations, and various publications. He is the recipient of fellowships and awards from numerous organizations, including the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, and the North Carolina Humanities Council. Photographs from Amberg’s books, Sodom Laurel Album (2002) and The New Road: I-26 and the Footprints of Progress (2009), are featured throughout the special feature section on North Carolina Appalachian literature in NCLR 2010, and The New Road is reviewed in the 2011 issue of NCLR, in the special feature section on environmental writing. Sodom Laurel Album received the 2003 Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award from the Western North Carolina Historical Association.

Gerald Barrax
Recipient of the North Carolina Award for Literature in 2009 and a 2006 inductee into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, poet Gerald W. Barrax has published five collections of poetry. His poems also appear in numerous anthologies including, Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry, and periodicals, including the prestigious Poetry and NCLR’s 2011 issue. His other awards and honors include the Raleigh Medal of Arts for "Extraordinary Achievement in the Arts," the Sam Ragan Award for contribution to the fine arts in North Carolina, fellowships from the Ford Foundation and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, and the Callaloo Creative Writing Award for Nonfiction Prose. Barrax was a Professor of English in creative writing at North Carolina State University from 1969 until his retirement in 1997. There, he also edited the journal Obsidian II: Black Literature in Review. He still lives in Raleigh.

Read about Barrax’s poetry collection Leaning against the Sun in an NCLR 1993 article on “Black and White in North Carolina Literature,” by Sally Buckner.



Jan DeBlieu
Jan DeBlieu is the author of four books and numerous essays. Her first book, Hatteras Journal (1987), is considered a regional classic on the Outer Banks. Meant to Be Wild (1991) was chosen as one of the best science books of the year by Library Journal. Wind (1998) won the John Burroughs Medal for Distinguished Natural History Writing, the highest national award given for a volume of nature writing. She talks about Year of the Comets: A Journey from Sadness to the Stars (2005) in an NCLR interview published in the 2005 special feature section on the Outer Banks. Her writing has also appeared in many national publications, including the New York Times Magazine, Audubon, and Orion, and she has an essay on “Marrying a Place” in the special feature section of NCLR 2011. Since 2003, DeBlieu has served as the Cape Hatteras Coastkeeper for the North Carolina Coastal Federation, a grassroots environmental group that works to protect coastal waters from pollution. A longtime environmental activist, in the late 1980s she helped form a group that successfully kept oil companies from drilling off the Outer Banks.

David Gessner imageDavid Gessner
David Gessner is the author of eight books, including Return of the Osprey (2002), which was chosen by the Boston Globe as one of the top ten nonfiction books of the year and by the Book-of-the-Month club as one of its top books of the year. The Globe called it a "classic of American Nature Writing." One of two books he has coming out in 2011, The Tarbell Chronicles, follows his journey to the Gulf Coast after the Deepwater Spill last summer.Gessner’s honors include a Pushcart Prize, the John Burroughs Award for Best Natural History Essay, and an essay chosen for The Best American Non-required Reading series. His writing has appeared in many periodicals, including the New York Times Magazine, the Boston Globe, Outside, the Georgia Review, the Harvard Review, and Orion. He has taught environmental writing at Harvard, and is currently an Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, where he is founding editor of the national literary journal, Ecotone. Read an interview with Gessner in the environmental writing section of NCLR 2011.

Zelda Lockhart imageZelda Lockhart
Zelda Lockhart has published two novels Fifth Born (2003), a Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Legacy Foundation finalist for debut fiction and a Barnes & Noble Discovery selection, and Cold Running Creek (2007), a historical novel that won a 2008 Honor Fiction Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and was the "Text in Community Read" for all incoming students and North Carolina A&T State University in 2008/2009. Her other works of fiction, poetry, and essays can be found in numerous anthologies and periodicals, including a poem forthcoming in NCLR 2011. Lockhart is also the author of The Evolution, a serialized novella that can be found online in the's Open Book series. Lockhart holds a bachelor's degree from Norfolk State University, a master's from Old Dominion University, and a certificate in writing, directing, and film editing from the New York Film Academy. After serving a term as the Piedmont Laureate, Lockhart is currently working on a new novel, lecturing, and conducting writing workshops. She lives in Hillsborough, NC.

To read more about and by these writers before they arrive, order NCLR 2011, featuring these (and many other) North Carolina environmental writers before the Eastern North Carolina Literary Homecoming, and receive any of the other issues in which our guest writers appear for just $5. Mention this special offer when you order.

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